Madeline, Linea & d'Orsay

September 26, 2006


We decided to start the day by looking for Madeline’s house in Proust’s neighborhood as suggested in “Storybook Travels”. We all enjoyed the fine neighborhood of eighteenth and nineteenth century homes and the well manicured formal Parc Monceau. Nobody seems to know exactly what house Bemelmans drew and referred to as “an old house in Paris that was covered with vines”, but it is a fun game for families to absorb the architecture and lifestyle while making a contest out of guessing which one it could be. We found it!

There were lots of school kids in the park in their uniforms when we first arrived and Mozart joined right in with the symphony of French children’s voices and bodies running here and there. When they left she played by herself for a while and then with her dad, before we started our serious hunt for “the house”. We decided to take a picture of it with Mozart holding up the picture in the book. Not too many kids get to go  to Madeline’s house, but we did.

Then we continued our metro adventure, jumping on three trains amongst that fast moving hustle bustle of people going this way and that at lightening speed and being crunched sometimes or losing ones balance if you are standing. We enjoy people watching and listening to the music of the people that entertain and taking in the sights at each stop as they tend to be much more colorful than the ones I remember in NYC. Always a little extra nerve wracking with a little kid in tow, hoping you will get
them on and off in the flurry safely and  in time for ones stop. Mozart loves to grab those fold down
seats when she can when she enters and often saves one for me. She likes putting the little ticket in too and watching it pop up, so she can grab it and go thru the turn style and gate. We felt like pros today on the metro circuit. I thought Mozart looked just like a little French girl eating her apple waiting for the metro.

Coming home in the dark was another chapter that did not go as smoothly since we first were clueless where we were coming out of the metro (it is a huge stop with many, many exits and we tried several that all looked wrong). Then, after we managed to find that by walking in circles above ground and asking a lot, we did get the bus, but missed our stop and landed in the middle of nowhere. After a little wandering we found the correct bus stop we think,but also spotted a taxi, so went for it and got home safely, altho quite late again after eleven. Ahhh yes, live and learn...sometimes the hard way. All part
of the adventure.

But back to our very pleasant day. Our three metros led us to Musee d’Orsay after a small walk along the Seine. Now we were following the itinerary for Linnea in Monet’s Garden as that is another favorite book  and a way to connect and excite Mozart about the sights. Education is often best when it is fun and has relevance so the books help that and we love the concept of using them in our itineraries.

Monet’s garden in Girverny had a very big impact on us during our last trip. We are gardeners and love the impressionists, so what is not to love? We knew we wanted to bring her there and d’Orsay is a good way to set that up as we take in some of Monet’s paintings while in Paris. We have a special picture of us on the Japanese bridge, so of course Mozart wants one of her there too.

The line was sooo long tho, we knew we would not last thru it (just like what happens to Linnea in the book) and we were hungry so we decided to have a meal nearby and think of something else. On my
lazy days, I had written out my list (probably still too long) on my “must do’s” while in Paris. So as we regrouped over lunch I remembered that we should get a Carte Musees et Monuments which allows you
to skip lines and gives one a better deal.

We decided to buy it at the d’Orsay as we passed it after our late lunch for a future day. But someone saw Mozart and they let us go in for free as our pass started the next day and it was just enough time
for us to do about an hour there and see what we needed to see. I had Mozart pick out 3 postcards of paintings that she liked best and she picked three Renoirs and they were all in the same room. They were two couples dancing and a picture of two girls playing piano. We found them, plus the Monets, and Van Goghs, Degas, Cesannes, Toulet latrec and more. Much more hurried that we like to do a museum, but with a kiddo late in the day, it really was about right and we are glad we saw what we did. We can always come back and will.

I think it must be Mozart’s birthday everyday and told her so as she ended up with a small haul from the gift shop there. They had a Linnea doll that she just had to have. “She can go on the Japanese bridge with me” she pleaded. Then she found another Katie book (well done picture book series on art and museums) which she does not have, so got that one. Then I saw a Memoire de France memory game of French famous sites and thought it would be fun for the whole family. We have some art ones with us, they don’t take up any space in a baggy (I brought a ton of extras) and they are fun and educational
to play. Paris is too ripe with splurge opportunities.

Then we did some more walking along the Seine and thru the exquisite Tuileries Gardens to a highly recommended coffee shop/high tea place called Angelina’s where Linnea got a chocolat Africaine with whipped cream in the book and our mouth’s were watering to try it too. Alas, we got there too late and they no longer would let us in to serve us, but we did talk them into letting us buy a few luscious looking pastries to go. Mozart insists on going back for the house special tho as soon as possible.

We then sauntered down just a little way to MacDonalds to eat our pastries as I had read that they have free wifi and wanted to check it out. The place was filled with laptops and it is very nice to know that it is there so I can upload this blog and keep in touch with family and friends. But for now I am going to bed so I can have another fun day in Paris tomorrow.

















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